‘You have everything to gain and nothing to lose’

Thinking about volunteering can sometimes be a bit overwhelming – you want to do something good, and you want to help others - but you just don’t know where to start. Well here at the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship, we know from experience that somethings the biggest changes are made in the little things that we do – and that’s where our Befriending Services come in.

Whether you volunteer as a Befriender for the National Visitors Network, or you chose to volunteer as a Phone Buddy, all you have to do is talk and listen – it’s as easy as that, but it does so much more. One of our volunteers, Keith, said that for him one of the best things about being one of our volunteers is that ‘sense of accomplishment’ in knowing that ‘you’re making a difference’ when you call up your Phone Buddy and talk about your day and get told in return that you’ve made that person’s day! As Keith says, it all makes the volunteer feel good too – and you might even find that you enjoy and look forward to the conversations as much as they do.

If you’ve always wanted to volunteer and have any apprehensions about for whatever reason, then here’s some advice from Keith to think about: ‘you have everything to gain and nothing to lose’, he says from experience that you gain ‘friendship’ as well as ‘learn a lot from them’ and learn yourself how all about why it is ‘good to listen’. Whilst Keith is making a difference, he is also helping us in the fight to end loneliness – as studies have shown that one of the top five needs in the UK for older people is social contact to combat the isolation of loneliness – and this all goes further in contributing to our mental health and wellbeing. Keith says that it even contributes to gaining more skills as you also improve your social skills by helping others, and Keith has made his volunteering extra special for his buddy by printing them photographs of all the places he sees when he goes travelling and writing little notes about what they are on the back so that his buddy can share the experience and feel like they know him a bit better too.

Keith describes the impact of the Befriending Services perfectly when he states that seeing how much his volunteering means to our beneficiaries ‘makes it all worthwhile’.

So if you’re thinking about volunteering, then join Keith and the CSRF in making the world a little less lonely by calling us on: 020 8691 7411 or if you prefer, send us an email at: [email protected] and you can make a difference just by making a new friend.